The Andrews Government has again turned its back on Latrobe Valley and Baw Baw Shire by failing to commit to funding vital upgrades for the Tyers CFA, according to The Nationals Member for Morwell, Martin Cameron, and Member for Eastern Victoria, Melina Bath.
Ahead of the Budget last month, Ms Bath urged the Treasurer to allocated $300,000 to the Tyers CFA for much-needed infrastructure works to repurpose its shed, which is currently not fit for purpose.
The brigade – which provides support to Traralgon, Glengarry, Yallourn North, Erica, Rawson and Walhalla– is forced to house its rapid response 4WD vehicle offsite at the Traralgon West CFA some 20 kilometres away, and the shed door needs to be lifted to fit a new technology tanker.
“Not only has the Andrews Government refused to fund these critical upgrades for the tireless volunteers of the Tyers CFA, but the Treasurer has demonstrated complete and utter contempt for Latrobe Valley residents by declaring there are “competing priorities” for funding,” Mr Cameron said.
“Surely there is no higher priority than community safety, and given the Tyers CFA plays a crucial role in responding to a range of local emergencies, it’s shameful Labor hasn’t heeded desperate calls for investment.
“The Andrews Government has failed Tyers residents by closing the old bridge, dragging out its rebuild for more than 8 years, and now it has failed them further by refusing to adequately fund an emergency service that saves lives and protects multiple rural communities across two local government areas.”
In reply to Ms Bath, the Treasurer also said allocation of funding was assessed based on “the best interests of the Victorian community”.
“Labor likes to assert it makes decisions in the ‘best interests’ as a political party, but clearly it isn’t making decisions in the ‘best interests’ of regional Victorians in the Latrobe Valley and Baw Baw Shire,” Ms Bath said.
“Housing a 4WD vehicle offsite on the wrong side of a closed bridge is untenable for the Tyers CFA.
The selfless volunteers of the Tyers CFA deserve – at the very least – a facility that doesn’t restrict their operations and allows them to respond to growing callouts, which have more than tripled over the last five years,” Ms Bath said.
“The Andrews Government must acknowledge the crucial role the Tyers CFA plays in our community by allocating $300,000 for station upgrades as a matter of urgency.”